Email Scammer Who Stole More Than £2 Million Sent To Jail, Reports Sophos

Nick Marinellis, the mastermind of a scam which stole more than £2 million from unsuspecting internet users, has been sentenced to at least four years behind bars. Marinellis, 40, pleaded guilty in a court in New South Wales, Australia to ten counts of fraud and one count of perverting the course of justice.

Prosecutors told the court that Marinellis masterminded an email scam involving the distribution of spam emails which conned people into believing they could claim millions of dollars through lottery winnings or an inheritance if they first sent off money for “expenses”.

Marinellis worked with a team of men based in Africa; his colleagues have not yet been identified. His victims included a Saudi Arabian sheikh who was defrauded of more than £200,000.

Court documents said that an office complex in Nottingham, UK, a AU$970,000 house in Sydney, seven other properties in the NSW area, five cars, several bank accounts and other property were all seized by police during the investigation.

Judge Barry Mahoney sentenced Marinellis to five years and three months jail with a non-parole period of four years and four months.

“Conmen like Marinellis are fleecing internet users out of millions around the world,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. “Stiff sentences send a strong message to others considering committing similar crimes to think again.”

Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend businesses from the threats of both spam and viruses.

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